When there's a mass shooting in America, a pattern repeats itself. Some people remind themselves that nothing will ever change…
In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over.
— (((Dan Hodges))) (@DPJHodges) June 19, 2015
… and others assume that this time it will, and go out and buy guns before it's too late.
Shares of Sturm Ruger (RGR) were up 6%, while American Outdoor Brands (AOBC), the company formerly known as Smith & Wesson, gained nearly 7%. Both stocks have tended to rally in the immediate aftermath of mass killings, which sadly have become more routine.
The Pulse nightclub in Orlando in June 2016. San Bernardino in December 2015. The Aurora, Colorado movie theater and Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. in 2012.
Investors had bet that these massacres would lead to tougher gun control laws, especially because of tough talk from President Obama.
The stricter laws never materialized. Instead, gun sales climbed during the Obama administration's two terms as gun aficionados bought more firearms just in case rules changed at a national level or in individual states controlled by Democrats.
The presumption is that liberals tend to be fatalistic, while conservatives expect gun control. The business's been depressed since Trump won the election, so both beliefs now benefit the gun lobby in the wake of an attack.